March 23, 2016

What Is Core Housing Need?

A Household Is in Core Housing Need If…

  1. its housing does not meet one or more of the adequacy, suitability or affordability standards, and
  2. it would have to spend 30% or more of its before-tax income to access acceptable local housing.
    • Acceptable housing is adequate in condition, suitable in size, and affordable.
    • Adequate housing does not require any major repairs, according to residents.
    • Suitable housing has enough bedrooms for the size and makeup of resident households, according to National Occupancy Standard (NOS) requirements.
    • Affordable housing costs less than 30% of before-tax household income.

CMHC estimates and publishes core housing need every five years using the Census of Canada, and annually, using the Canadian Income Survey.

While the Canadian number has changed little from 2001 – 2011, it varies across the country and from city to city.

You can use core housing need estimates to identify groups in your community that are most in need of housing assistance, and to inform housing and poverty strategies and housing program proposals.

For more information on Core Housing Need and the differences between the Census and other surveys, read the chapter on Affordability from the 2014 Canadian Housing Observer (PDF).

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Households in Core Housing Need in Canada by Housing Standards, 2001 – 2011*


*A household can be below more than one standard.

Text version

Households in Core Housing Need in Canada by Housing Standards, 2001 – 2011*
2011 2006 2001
All households in core housing need 12.5% 12.7% 13.7%
Below affordability standard 11.2% 11.4% 12.3%
Below suitability standard 1.7% 1.9% 2.0%
Below adequecy standard 1.9% 1.9% 2.1%

Incidence of Core Housing Need by Location, 2011


Census Metropolitan Area (CMA): An urban area with a total population of at least 100,000 and an urban core population of at least 50,000.
Census Agglomeration (CA): A community with an urban core population of 10,000 or more that is not big enough to qualify as a CMA.

Source: CMHC (Census-based and NHS-based housing indicators and data)

Text version

Incidence of Core Housing Need by Location, 2011
Newfoundland and Labrador 11.4%
Prince Edward Island 9.2%
Nova Scotia 12.5%
New Brunswick 9.9%
Quebec 10.8%
Ontario 13.4%
Manitoba 10.3%
Saskatchewan 13.2%
Alberta 10.7%
British Columbia 15.4%
Yukon 14.6%
Northwest Territories 15.7%
Nunavut 39.3%
All CMAs 13.4%
Québec 8.6%
Montréal 13.3%
Ottawa - Gatineau 10.7%
Toronto 16.9%
Calgary 10.1%
Vancouver 17.7%
All CAs 10.3%
Whitehorse 9.9%
Yellowknife 10.1%
Rural areas 10.6%
Iqaluit 22.7%

Incidence of Core Housing Need in Canada by Household Characteristics, 2011

Household Characteristics

Primary Household Maintainer Characteristics

Text version

Incidence of Core Housing Need in Canada by Household Characteristics, 2011
All households in Canada 12.5% 1.6 million households in need
Owners 6.5% 562,800 households in need
Renters
26.4% 989,400 households in need
Couples 6.0% 428,200 households in need
Lone parents 26.2% 327,900 households in need
One-person households 21.6% 718,200 households in need
Low-income ($1 to $31,598) 50.4% 1.3 million households in need
Moderate income ($31,599 to $52,353) 10.8% 268,300 households in need
Off-reserve Aboriginal households 19.0% 95,800 households in need
Youth-led (15 – 24 years) 19.9% 75,300 households in need
Senior-led (65+ years) 13.7% 394,300 households in need
Employed 7.9% 639,600 households in need
Unemployed
24.6% 111,900 households in need
Recent immigrants (2006 – 2011) 29.6% 83,100 households in need

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